Am I a couch potato? I guess I can’t call myself that anymore now that I’m a fairly active mother of two toddlers, but when I get downtime I like to spend it on this one particular cozy spot on my couch – the best seat in the house, I might add – or cuddled in my bed. And both places are directly in front of the TV.
No one would ever, ever mistake me for an exercise enthusiast. I think my heyday was back when it was all about Mousercising. That’s right. In the 80’s when high cut, one piece thong leotards were the rage. Not that I ever wore one - I was only a kid and my mom would have killed me - but all the great instructors did.
I’m not exactly overweight, but I am jiggly all over, and I’m probably one of the weakest people you know (physical strength-wise, not mind or spirit-wise). I can hardly do a single push up.
I envy the folks who go to the gym. Even the phrase "go to the gym" sounds cool. I would love to be that mom; the one who goes to the gym at 6am to get my workout in before the kids wake up, or the one that feels confident walking around in yoga pants and fully supported racerback athletic tanks. But, I’m not.
Did I mention that I’m a wimp?
And then, one day, I was offered an opportunity to try out The Dailey Method with unlimited classes for one month. Something I could try before making a financial commitment that Steve, my husband, would discourage. Not because he doesn’t want me to workout if that’s what I want to do, but rather because of my marred track record. I often flake out on things like that. I’m super excited in the beginning and then slowly lose steam. Can any of you relate? Come on. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
I was excited to learn about The Dailey Method. The truth is, I’d never heard of it before, but that was no surprise seeing as though I don’t run in that circle (pun intended). So I did what I do - I googled it, and here’s what I found:
The Dailey Method® is a unique combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning, muscle strengthening, yoga, and orthopedic exercises.
This challenging one-hour class effectively strengthens, tones and lengthens the entire body. All movement is controlled and very focused, effective, and safe. Proper alignment is our primary focus. Then each set of exercises is followed by a series of active stretches to develop more sculpted and supple muscles. The entire body and mind is constantly working throughout class. Through this process ones body, posture, and physical awareness will be transformed.
The next day, I went out and bought new ¾ length yoga pants and a super cute racerback tank. Just putting the outfit on transformed me. I’m a firm believer in dressing the part. If you look like a workout girl, then you’ll feel like a workout girl.
So there I was a few days later in my fancy new digs, walking up the stairs to The Dailey Method's 2nd floor studio on Damen Ave in Bucktown, and I began to panic. I entered and soaked in my surroundings. It was a modern, clean space with crisp, striking green accents all around. No doubt, the place was beautiful and gave off a fantastic energy, but it didn't reduce my anxiety. What was I doing there? I didn’t belong with all these healthy, glowing people. I’m the girl who gets winded from a couple of sit-ups.
I hesitantly stepped up to the check-in desk and announced myself. Then, what happened next is still confusing and embarrassing. I began revealing all of my shortfalls, "I never exercise, my arms are so weak, I never lift weight, I don’t… I can’t…" all the sudden I was in Confession.
Looking back, it was definitely a defense mechanism. I knew the instructor would see my glaring flaws, and I wanted to let her know that I knew I might not be able to do this. That way, if I looked ridiculous or gave up in front of everyone, all I had to say was, “I told you so,” and I’d be absolved of any responsibility.
But Julie was the sweetest, most patient, most encouraging instructor. She surely said, “Good job, Laura!” at least 87 times throughout the one-hour class (she knew I needed it). When my form was off, she casually came over and gently adjusted my pose. When we did bar work and my legs began shaking uncontrollably, she shrugged it off telling me that the same thing happens to her sometimes. It simply indicated that my muscles were fatigued. In other words, they were getting a good workout. I liked Julie. She had a kind, non-judgmental demeanor, and that’s exactly what a non-workout girl like me needed.
The Dailey Method works every area of your body. In my first session we started with a warm up (plank, push ups, "high c curve" abdominal work) and moved into arm work. We then did thigh work (we did parallel, lunge and athletic V) and seat work, followed by a bar stretch and ended class with three sets of abdominal work.
The truth is it kicked my butt, but I walked out feeling so confident and strong. It was hard, but I wanted to go back and that was huge for me. Later that night, I had a burst of energy and rallied Steve and the kids to go for a long walk. My husband is fit. He likes to run. He likes to lift. He likes to workout, so he really got a kick out of me working out and feeling the natural high he often talks about.
That night we ate salad for dinner. Maybe, just maybe I was on my way to becoming a workout girl. I hadn’t booked my next class yet, but I was going to.
When depended on how I felt the next day...
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